Everyone has read The Hunger Games. My copy of the book has been sitting on my shelf for months, waiting for me to open its page. Not because I didn’t...moreEveryone has read The Hunger Games. My copy of the book has been sitting on my shelf for months, waiting for me to open its page. Not because I didn’t think it would be good but because I didn’t think it would be as good as what everyone made it out to be.
For the most part, I liked the book. It had a very character driven narrative. The characters themselves were predictable but nonetheless endearing. The idea of the Hunger Games has been done before with things like Battle Royale but this was less bloody, safer for a young adult audience.
I would have more thoroughly enjoyed the story if it had explained, even in few details, the workings of the societies. Dystopian novels rarely reveal all of the details of a society, that is what makes them so interesting for me. But to have so little detail provided kept the story from becoming real for me.
Despite my criticisms of it, I did enjoy the story. I read it in one sitting and it left me thinking. The Hunger Games, being part of a trilogy, means that my concerns may be addressed in the second book. Though I did like it, I think I’ll wait and pick this one up at the library rather than buying a copy of my own.(less)
Following a captivating blue-haired boy and three tattooed teenagers into an unused room in the club Pandemonium, Clary hardly expects to witness a mu...moreFollowing a captivating blue-haired boy and three tattooed teenagers into an unused room in the club Pandemonium, Clary hardly expects to witness a murder, much less one where the victim’s body disappears before her eyes. Confronting the teens, Clary is told that the boy they killed isn’t a boy but a demon from the Downworld. But more importantly than that, why is that Clary, a human, can see these powerful Shadowhunters?
Confused and shaken by the night’s events, Clary goes home and is told by her mother that they have to go away, immediately. Rather than listening to her mother, Clary takes off with her best friend Simon. When she comes back, she finds that her mother has been kidnapped, and that Jace, one of the tattooed teenagers from the club, is back to help her.
City of Bones is the first book in the Mortal Instruments trilogy by Cassandra Clare, coming in at something around 500 pages. Without giving too much away about the story, it becomes incredibly complex. Various events take place and it becomes like a fast-paced soap opera. And I don’t like soap-operas, but it felt appropriate. Most young adult books focus on the relationships and Clare does a great job of twisting emotions and throwing curve-balls at the reader. I also greatly enjoyed that it felt like this book was meant to be a trilogy. It ended by solving the great mystery from the beginning but presented the next one to be solved in the second book.
It was an incredibly quick read for me. I read the first one hundred or so pages on the day I purchased the book. The next day, I read the rest of it in one sitting. I had to know what happened. I’ve hardly felt this much dedication to a story since Harry Potter (who will always hold the highest place of any young adult book in my bookish heart). People are comparing this book to Twilight and if you know me well, you will know that I do not think highly of the series. Mortal Instruments is a fast-paced read that will hopefully inspire teens to read beyond just these three books – hopefully encouraging them to delve into other fantasy books.
That being said, there is one thing that I’m incredibly upset about. One of the characters within the book, Jace’s best friend – Alec, is gay. However, only his sister Isabella and Clary know. Clary asks Isabella when they’re alone if Alec is gay and Isabella is shocked that she found out but quickly tells Clary that she shouldn’t talk about it because Jace doesn’t know.
Since this book is meant for a young adult audience, I always try to see what kind of messages are being enforced through the narrative. I don’t think that anyone who is gay or lesbian should have to be “hush-hush” about their sexuality, especially not to someone who is their best friend.
All in all, I enjoyed reading this admitted guilty pleasure and look forward to the next one, City of Ashes. (less)
I was reading two Jonathan Lethem books at the same time. I accidentally found You Don't Love Me Yet at the library after I purchased Girl in Landscap...moreI was reading two Jonathan Lethem books at the same time. I accidentally found You Don't Love Me Yet at the library after I purchased Girl in Landscape! I assumed it would do no harm if I read both at the same time. It was a very jarring experience. Reading them one right after the other, it felt like I was reading something by two completely different authors. Girl in Landscape falls under the science-fiction category but with a Western slant to it reminiscent of the movie "The Searchers." You Don't Love Me Yet is a quirky, hipster-ish story about Lucinda, a girl that plays in a band and works at a "Complaint Line."
The beginning of the book, I thought, did this very well. It had the weird movie-buff guitar player (named Bedwin, no less), the really skinny singer who was on-and-off with the bass player and there was a drummer, of course, who worked at a porn shop. The beginning of the book was the perfect set up to what I imagined would be a poking-fun-at-itself novel that criticized this culture and the absurdities associated with it. Instead, it took itself seriously. And broke my heart. Instead of criticizing this lost-in-California, sexually-promiscuous scenester culture, it played right into it. There were no insights. Unless you count "you can' t be deep without a surface," and I really don't.
I don't think that You Don't Love Me Yet was the correct novel to read as an introduction to Jonathan Lethem. Girl in Landscape is amazing, as far as I've read. I've heard the unending praises of both Motherless Brooklyn and Fortresss of Solitude. I would really recommend Lethem, just not You Don't Love Me Yet. (less)
This book isn't for the light of heart. That being said, it is not "a guy's book" either. Prior to this book, I hadn't read anything by McCarthy - tho...moreThis book isn't for the light of heart. That being said, it is not "a guy's book" either. Prior to this book, I hadn't read anything by McCarthy - though I always meant to pick something up at the library or at one of my mom'n'pop used bookstores. If writing as wonderful as that found in No Country for Old Men is what I can reasonably expect to receive from other works - McCarthy and I may have just become best friends.
This book begins with Llewelyn Moss hunting in the countryside, accidentally running across the site of multiple-murders. In one truck he finds the entire back seat filled with shipments of heroin. He continues tracking the last person alive from the tragedy until he finds him, also dead, clutching a case containing two point something million dollars. Moss takes the money but knows someone will come back to get it. He doesn't know that it will be Anton Chigurh, a man who stops at nothing to prove that he can get the job done. What is the job? Retrieve the money and kill everyone along the way.
However, Chigurh and Moss aren't the focus of the story. The story is about Sheriff Ed Tom Bell, sheriff of his wotn since his early twenties. Just like his grandaddy before him. As Mos is running desperately from a man who will never go away, Sheriff Bell speaks of how his town has become a grossly amoral place. The law is only right versus wrong, the rules have changed and so has the kind of people a Sheriff runs up against.
With the violence and body count rising, Bell tries in vain to catch up to Chigurh and Moss. Missing them only by days, forced to follow the bodies, Bell feels defeated and visits his uncle, a former sheriff, where they talk about the wars - WWI and Vietman. The wars that had a cause or a way to tell if you were winning.
McCarthy wrote this book in such an authentic way. He barely uses contractions and leaves off a couple of letters here or there on a word so that you can really hear in your head how that character is speaking. Having spent time in Texas, I will tell you that this isn't a caricature of southern speech. His work seems to be greatly researched even in its finest details.
I finished this book in about three days. The action scenes kept me going and the parts where Bell mused on changes gave me something deeper to think about.I'm not generally a fan of a lot of violence in movies or in books - but because McCarthy gave us a deeper meaning attached to that violence - I understood. And it made sense. The book wouldn't be able to get its point across without the bloody fight scenes.
And its point? We live in an increasingly violent world. It will only get worse because the people who remember the days where your biggest problem as a Sheriff was making sure you kept the cattle rustlers in line will die. Our world will be left with the drug pushers and the intimidators and the folks trying to make a buck off of being at the right place at the right time.(less)
After Dark is the first book by Haruki Murakami that I’ve read. I was warned by many that I would not enjoy it. But they’re all delusional and wrong.
A...moreAfter Dark is the first book by Haruki Murakami that I’ve read. I was warned by many that I would not enjoy it. But they’re all delusional and wrong.
After Dark isn’t a traditional novel. It isn’t a plot driven story and in fact, not much actually happens. After Dark takes place in Tokyo over a period of seven hours. It begins with Mari Asai, sitting and reading her book in a Denny’s in the middle of the night. An old acquaintance sees her and reacquaints himself. The boy, Takahashi, eats at Mari’s table and volunteers information about himself. He is going to a late-night practice down the street - he plays the trombone. It is her fateful meeting with Takahashi that sets off a chain of events. Without meeting Takahashi, Mari would have stayed at the Denny’s until morning, reading her book and ordering food or coffee every couple of hours to justify her presence. Instead she has ended up at a love-hotel trying to save a prostitute. But this isn’t the “mystery” part of the story. The actual mystery in the story is right in front of you from the beginning, presented in the most bizarre way.
Reading this book felt like a dream. Murakami often addresses the reader directly, “we.” He narrates part of the story as though the reader and writer are both a camera viewing the scene. It pulls you into the plot - confusing you at first - but like any dream, you just go with it. The place it took me was unexpected.
A flaw that I found with the novel was the conversations between characters. Often the dialogue between Mari and Takahashi lacked a human feel to it. It felt like he attempted to shove too much information into pieces of the dialogue. The ending of the story also left me a little worried. The revenge of the abused prostitute was never realized and thereby left out. Did someone punish the man that did such horrible things to her? Will Mari ever see Takahashi again? Does he even really like her? The note of hope that the book ends on left me only partly convinced.
I’m told that this book is not indicative of Murakami’s style - that this book was “experimental.” I look forward to reading more of him because this book, though it had its flaws, was a worthwhile read. It felt like a hallucination.(less)
After slavery was abolished, journalists and aspiring journalists went around the country to interview former slaves and get their stories before it w...moreAfter slavery was abolished, journalists and aspiring journalists went around the country to interview former slaves and get their stories before it was too late. These oral histories that they gathered created a historically important book to make sure we’d never forget about slavery.
Max Brooks’ World War Z is a just-as-serious though fictional account of the zombie war. Post-war, the narrator travels around the world to document everything that happened from the first outbreak to the post-war clean-up missions. Each chapter is broken up into first-person stories from a survivor. The narrator sometimes asks questions, but usually, people don’t need prompting for the story to just spill out of them.
Despite the fantastical nature of the book, I felt myself becoming immersed in it. If you take into consideration recent events and all of the wars that we’ve been in, a situation like this (sans zombies) of a broken world and broken nations is plausible. I like to think that Brooks meant to also criticize our various countries and human shortsightedness while telling us this fictional story.
If a zombie outbreak ever occurred it makes sense for individuals to have nervous breakdowns and become quidlings. It makes sense that America would think that our arsenal of weaponry would defeat zombies as though it was traditional combat. It was probable that our citizens would listen to the media and try to flee north. I could see all of that happening.
I admire that Brooks did not limit himself to only the United States of America. Instead, he takes us around the world, allowing cultural reactions to become apparent. In one of the vignettes, a Palestinian teenager believes the zombie outbreak to be a trick by the Israelis. That was particularly powerful for me.
This book definitely redefines what “zombie” literature can do. It can go beyond being a book for a specific group and can branch out into being a clever, good book about not just zombies but political and social commentary. I wasn’t expecting this from this book when I first picked it up and let me tell you, it was a wonderfully pleasant surprise. (less)